How to Bring Disney Magic to Customer Experiences
As any relocation industry expert will tell you: customer experience is key. Every detail counts — from your first impression to your last experience with a customer, client, or resident (which hopefully ends in a lifelong relationship or referral). After 60 years of success and popularity, the Walt Disney Company knows a thing or two about customer experience and leaving a lasting impression. After all, the company continues to boast a 70% return rate for first-time visitors, which is extraordinary, but not surprising when you consider the fact that they’ve kept their customer the main focal point since their first park opened in 1955.
So how do they do it? What if you could bring some of this magic to your industry? Here’s a helpful guide to Disney’s customer service traditions, and ways in which you can use their tips to revitalize or improve the experience you provide.
Chat with families or any Disney super fan and they’ll all say the same thing: Disney World is the happiest place on Earth. At Disney, making people happy is an art, and as a result, they're known for their world-class service. For Walt Disney himself, a great customer experience meant engineering a pleasing ambience — right down to pumping in delightful smells and ensuring each of their 15,000 speakers park-wide are programmed to play music at the exact same volume. For property managers, realtors, and moving companies, this means creating an environment and experience that is comfortable and stress-free. Whether this means well-manicured properties and offices, friendly team members, or flowers and welcome gift baskets upon move-in, creating happiness from the get-go shows a commitment to your customer, client, or resident's current and future well-being.
Consistency, consistency, consistency
A great way to exceed expectations is to regularly demonstrate company values. While most companies have a mission, Disney takes this a step further by training employees at their orientation, called "Traditions," on their “Four Keys,” to ensure consistent practices across the company. They are:
Safety. Disney employees (aka “cast members”) are encouraged to put safety first. Making sure your movers and site and maintenance teams know that safety is your first priority will prevent accidents and give customers, clients, and residents a sense of security.
Courtesy. Disney cast members are expected to project a positive image and energy, as well as be accommodating to guests of all ages. A positive attitude — plus employees doling out proactive advice — goes a long way in retaining residents and creating repeat customers.
Show. All Disney employees should stay in character and keep their area “show-ready” at all times. The care you take in treating your business like you're always on stage will pay off. Whether it’s branded uniforms for your moving company or a reception area with stocked business cards, your clients will appreciate showmanship.
Efficiency. Disney employees know to use time and resources wisely. It seems like a given in the relocation industry, but working smarter and more efficiently benefits your bottom line.
Build brand advocates
Remember that 70% statistic about customers who returned to Disney after their first visit? That’s not magic; it’s one of Disney’s goals. How do they keep loyal customers? Let’s say a customer has a poor experience at Disneyland. When they take their concerns to Disney’s Guest Relations, another day in the park is often offered free of charge. This is an incredible value to the customer as rates for day passes aren't cheap. Meanwhile, it’s not a big loss for Disney, as the customer will end up spending money in the park the next day (and have a great time in the process).
Disney understands that a small financial loss (like a free day pass) may make the difference in gaining a long-term customer. When you listen to your residents/customers/clients’ feedback and offer another service, a small gift, or simply waive a fee, you’re not only making that person feel valued; you’re also building brand advocates who will recommend you over and over again.
Observe from the ground floor
Early on in Disney World’s development, it was proposed that an administration building be built for management, but Walt Disney was strongly opposed to it. He didn’t want his team or leaders sitting behind desks. Instead, he wanted them out in the park, observing guests and finding out how to make their experience more enjoyable. He loved to observe guests himself, sometimes even going on rides with park-goers. As Walt Disney would say, listen to the people! There is no replacement for the priceless experience of having personal interactions and face-to-face contact with your customers, clients, and residents. If you can make this concept an integral part of your approach, you'll receive valuable, personal feedback and see where the strengths and flaws lie in your customer experience, allowing you to improve in real time.
Cutting-edge technology is your best friend
The Walt Disney Company has adapted and evolved time and again — through the Apple years, the Google years, and through numerous competitors trying to copy their take on the family fun market. By offering services like MyDisneyExperience.com (an app to digitally plan guest visits) and MagicBand (access to your park key right on your wrist), Disney does not shy away from technological methods of wowing their guests. You can bring this same tech-type enthusiasm to your customer experience by investing in Updater, an app designed specifically to provide end-to-end moving support for your clients, customers, and residents.
Putting your customer experience at the center of your strategy brings you loyal customers, lasting residents, and clients who recommend — a real dream come true across the relocation industry.
Katie is a talented freelance writer. She loves comedy, making people laugh, and will break it down any time she hears a good beat.